Alberta budget: the highlights

Alberta budget: the highlights

Here are some of the highlights from the Alberta government's budget, tabled in the legislature on Thursday by Finance Minister Joe Ceci:

- $9.2 billion earmarked for capital spending, including:

$400 million over four years for a new hospital in Edmonton;

10 new schools, including five for Calgary and four for Edmonton, plus design work on a 5th for the capital;

$155 million over four years for new child and adolescent mental health centre at the Royal Alexandra Hospital in Edmonton;

$65 million for modernization and a new emergency room at the Misericordia Hospital in Edmonton; 

New $131-million 200-bed long-term care facility for Calgary:

New courthouse in Red Deer ($97 million over four years)

- No new income taxes, no new taxes on alcohol or tobacco

- Deficit forecast at $10.3 billion, half-billion less than last year's deficit

- Provincial debt climbs to $45 billion this year and $71 billion by 2019/20. No firm plan to pay off debt before 2023/24 at earliest

- Debt servicing costs climb from $1.3 billion in 2017/18 to $2.3 billion in 2029/20

- Average WTI oil price for year pegged at $55 US/bbl

- Carbon tax expected to bring in $1.038 billion this budget year and climb to $1.4 billion over three years

- Government forecasts economy will grow by 2.6 per cent in coming year, the highest rate in the country

- Modest budget increases to health, education, and social services 

- Overall growth in operating spending will be 2.2 per cent, compared to 3.9 per cent in the past 2016/17 fiscal year

- $100 million over four years to upgrade water for First Nations

- New hires: 1,500 Health, 429 Education, 495 Justice/Solicitor General